Word of the Day

Today's Word:
Flatulent (Adjective)

Pronunciation: ['flæ-chê-lênt]

Definition 1: (1) (Rare) Of a windy nature, full of air or wind (and, by extension, pompous), as spring and autumn are the most flatulent of the seasons; (2) containing a great deal of those very smelly gases created by bacteria in the intestines that occasionally slip out of the posteriors of unsuspecting humans and animals.

Usage 1: Today's word works well when you have to talk about this unpleasant subject without using the equally smelly colloquial expressions for it. A flatulent person is rife with flatulence but they do not flatulate since no dictionary recognizes this word (yet). The gases which cause an eruction, another gaseous Word of the Day published recently, are completely different from those involved in flatulence.

Suggested usage: Unfortunately, when a lovely word like this one picks up a meaning related to a bodily function, all its other meanings quickly pale and evaporate. However, if you are clever, you can put the two meanings of today's word to useful effect: "Greta said that the senator's speech was flatulent; I am not sure if she was referring to his pomposity or bad breath."

Etymology: Today's word blew our way, via French, from Latin flatus "wind, a blowing (out)." The original Indo-European root was *bhlo/bhle "blow," which came directly to English (avoiding French) as "blow," "bladder," "blast," and blather "to prattle," from Old Norse bladhra "to talk like air blowing out a bladder." "Isinglass" is the output of the folk etymology (influenced by glass) of obsolete Dutch "huizenblas" from hus "sturgeon" + blase "bladder," a material somehow remindful of today's word. (We hope Ray Johnson's mess hall at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas didn't bring today's word to mind—or nostril; I guess we should be grateful that he thinks of us when words like today's occur to him.)

—Dr. Language, yourDictionary.com


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